Golfer who’s close to 100, still breaking 90 on the links

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(WPRI) — In almost a century of life, that included everything from the terror of war to the joy of family, Arthur Medeiros has learned how to survive and thrive.

“I’ll walk slow for you,” he said with one of those chuckles that will make you chuckle.

With that, the retired trucker who drove his final route before many of us were born, walked briskly down the first fairway at Montaup Country Club. 

This Bristol resident, who turns 98 next week, took his first golf swing a long time ago with a hickory shaft, when you could buy a loaf of bread for about seven pennies.

“I caddied when I was about 13,” he said. “I’ve been playing ever since. This and my music. That’s what’s keeping me going.”

He sank a 25 foot putt on the 8th hole on this day and just about drained a 40 yard chip on another hole.

“What a shot!,” one of his golfing buddies said after the chip. “Get in the hole. Get in the hole.”

Medeiros seemed satisfied with a short putt.

He gave up playing and conducting in a local band when his eyes started to go.

“When I hit my ball I can’t look that way,” he said. “I have to look at these guys to find out where it goes.”

But needing a little help from the group to find his shot will not keep him away from the game he’s loved for 85 years.

“I come out here every day. Play golf with my friends, all younger than me,” he said. “I can’t find anyone my age.”

The line, punctuated with another chuckle, kept the crew moving and smiling, even when the shots weren’t so great.

“Oh, come on Arthur,” he groaned to himself after a shank. “Get it up in the air.”

His perspective on a a slice into a sand trap is far better since he lived through World War II and the Battle of the Bulge.

He was one of only a dozen survivors from a battalion of more than 200. 

Three Purple Hearts, because in his words, “They just kept putting me back out there,” and the Silver and Bronze Stars finally caught up with him in a ceremony when he was 93.

“It was a slaughter. It was a slaughter,” he said. “Every day you thought it was over.”

He paused for a split-second to reword his memory.

“Every minute you thought it was over,” he said.

The smile on his face, the joy in his eyes dulls a bit when he recalls the war, but not for long.

“There’s a lot of things for 70 some years I’ve been trying to forget,” he said, a smile returning. “I only think of the funny things.” 

Like a round of golf.

“Awe! In the water. In the water? I hit it fat,” he said.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to crush your drives and drain your putts if you’re blessed enough to close in on the century mark of life, Medeiros’ secret might not mesh with what you’ve heard.

“I just don’t read labels,” he said. “Whatever I feel like eating I go out and eat. It was nothing like, you don’t eat this, it’s no good for you, don’t eat that. We ate whatever we wanted.”

Perhaps not the greatest longevity secret in the world, but it sure has worked just fine for Medeiros. 

That and family, and of course golf with some good friends. 

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